Ellis Island Medal of Honor Database

Renee Fleming

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Renee Fleming
2001 Medalist

One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time,soprano Renee Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. Known as the people's diva and named the number one female singer by Salzburger Festspiele Magazin in 2010, she continues to grace the world's greatest opera stages and concert halls, now extending her reach to include other musical forms and media. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series for movie theaters and television, and Live From Lincoln Center on PBS.

As a musical statesman, Renee Fleming has been sought after on numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. In January 2009, Ms. Fleming was featured on the televised We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert for President Obama. In 2012, in an historic first, Ms. Fleming sang on the balcony of BuckinghamPalace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Ms. Fleming has also performed for the United States Supreme Court and, in November 2009, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CzechRepublic's Velvet Revolution at the invitation of Vaclav Havel. An additional distinction was bestowed in 2008, when breaking a precedent, Ms. Fleming became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.

In the 2011-12 season, Renee Fleming reprised her celebrated portrayal of the title role in Stephen Wadsworth's production of Handel's Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Harry Bicket. She began the season as Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia under the baton of Riccardo Frizza at San Francisco Opera; sang Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at Baden-Baden in a new production by Philippe Arlaud, conducted by Christian Thielemann; and appeared in the title role of Arabella in a new production at the Paris Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan. In the fall, at the invitation of the Sultan of Oman, Renee Fleming headlined a gala concert celebrating the grand opening of the new Royal Opera House in Muscat. She joined Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Sir Andrew Davis in a duo concert at Lyric Opera of Chicago, sang Strauss's Four Last Songs with Christoph Eschenbach and the London Philharmonic, and returned to Carnegie Hall with the MET Orchestra in Mahler's Ruckert-Lieder. Her concert calendar includes galas at the Providence Performing Arts Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, as well as concert appearances with the Seattle, Vancouver, Oregon, Colorado, and San Antonio symphony orchestras, and with San Diego Opera and Fresno Grand Opera.

A three-time Grammy winner, Ms. Fleming won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for Verismo (Decca/September 2009), a CD featuring a collection of rarely heard Italian arias. In June 2010, Decca and Mercury records released the CD Dark Hope, which features Ms. Fleming covering songs by indie-rock and pop artists. Recent DVD releases include Massenet's Thais and Rossini's Armida, both part of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series, and Verdi's Traviata, filmed at London's Royal Opera House. Ms. Fleming's 2010 DVD Renee Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg follows Ms. Fleming and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky to Russia, where they explore and perform in some of St. Petersburg's most historic locations. In recent years, this thirteen-time Grammy nominated artist has recorded everything from Strauss's complete Daphne to the jazz album Haunted Heart to the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Her recording honors range from the 2009 Echo Award for Strauss's Four Last Songs to the Prix Maria Callas Orphee d'Or by the Academie du Disque Lyric for TDK's DVD production of Capriccio. In February,2012, Ms. Fleming received the Victoire d'Honneur, the highest award conveyed by the French Victoires de la Musique.

Renee Fleming's artistry has been an inspiration to many other prominent artists, such as Chuck Close and Robert Wilson, whose portraits of her were included in the Metropolitan Opera's 2007 fundraising auction. Two portraits of Ms. Fleming were also created by Francesco Clemente, who revealed one in Salzburg in spring 2007, with the Metropolitan Opera displaying the other in 2008. Photographic portraits include works by Brigitte Lacombe, Annie Leibovitz, and Irving Penn, among others.

Ms. Fleming is a champion of new music and has performed works by a wide range of contemporary composers, including recent compositions by Henri Dutilleux, Brad Mehldau, Andre Previn, and Wayne Shorter. Among her numerous awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2011); Sweden's Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur from the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and Honorary Doctorates from the Eastman School of Music (2011) and The Juilliard School (2003), where she was also commencement speaker.

An advocate for literacy, Renee Fleming has been featured in promotional campaigns for the Association of American Publishers (Get Caught Reading), and the Magazine Publishers of America's READ poster campaign for the American Library Association. She was honored by The New York Public Library as a Library Lion. Her book, The Inner Voice, was published by Viking Penguin in 2004, and released in paperback by Penguin the following year. An intimate account of her career and creative process, the book is also published in France by Fayard Editions, in the United Kingdom by Virgin Books, by Henschel Verlag in Germany, Shunjusha in Japan, and by Fantom Press in Russia.

In addition to her work on stage and in recordings, Renee Fleming has represented Rolex timepieces in print advertising since 2001. In 2008, she launched La Voce by Renee Fleming, a fragrance designed for her, with the proceeds benefiting the Metropolitan Opera. Master Chef Daniel Boulud created the dessert La Diva Renee (1999) in her honor, and she inspired the Renee Fleming Iris (2004), which has been replicated in porcelain by Boehm. Having been added to Mr. Blackwell's best dressed list, her concert gowns have been designed by Reem Acra, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano for Dior, Douglas Hannant, Christian Lacroix, Oscar de la Renta, Angel Sanchez and Vivienne Westwood. In addition to serving as the face of opera for two public transit campaigns in New York and London, Ms. Fleming has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., The View and Prairie Home Companion as Renata Flambe, among numerous other media outlets.

Ms. Fleming is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie HallCorporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Advisory Board of the White Nights Foundation of America. In 2010, she was named the first ever Creative Consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is currently curating the creation of a world-premiere opera based on the best-seller Bel Canto for Lyric Opera's 2015-2016 season.


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